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Sun Jar DIY

UPDATE: This post originally ran on March 23 2011, but with summer winding down we wanted to bring it back up for some late summer inspiration!

a fellow fp girl sent this to me a couple weeks back and i’ve been thinking about it ever since! i can think of a million reasons why these would be awesome… as apartment décor, as outdoor party décor, and – wouldn’t they be the best thing EVER for camping in general or at a festival? just let them sit in the sun all day, and they’ll last all night! i am absolutely going to make some to bring with me to bonnaroo this year.

you can buy a sun jar here, but you can make your own for much cheaper! i am not good with technical things, like putting together a solar power cell, so i found the easy way :)

what you need:


a mason jar with a clear glass lid like this one from ikea, a solar garden light like the ones pictured above, which i found here, adhesive and glass frosting spray.

start by spraying the inside of the jar with the frosting spray – this will help diffuse the light and give it a warm glow. don’t spray the lid though! it needs to be clear in order to work. next you’ll need to take apart the solar lamp – apparently this can be a lot easier than it sounds, depending on what kind of lamp you purchase.  certain kinds can simply be unscrewed and the solar/battery pack remains intact, whereas others will require some reassembly with adhesive. see here and here for examples.


glue the solar cell, or the parts you’ve harvested from the garden lamp, to the underside of the jar’s lid, and you’re done! close the lid, put your jar in direct sunlight, and it’ll glow all night long!


last image.

Be sure to check out our new DIY Projects category for more DIY Inspiration!

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Kristin -March 23, 2011, 1:31PM

awesome! perfect for camping :D

jacqueline -March 23, 2011, 2:39PM

love love love.

Rachel -March 23, 2011, 3:59PM

This is absolutely amazing. I use my Mason jars as candle holder with little tea lights in them, but those little candles don’t last long! This is the most fabulous idea. I’m making a bunch of these this weekend!

Taylor -March 23, 2011, 5:14PM

This is an amazing idea, and they look beautiful!

mackenzie rose -March 23, 2011, 5:45PM

i’ve always wanted to buy one of these lamps, but there so expensive. im so excited to make these!

calla -March 23, 2011, 10:06PM
annaliese -March 23, 2011, 10:48PM

anyone know how they made the pink one? colored frosting spray. or a different color bulb? ♥

Jenny -March 24, 2011, 3:55AM

I AM GOING TO MAKE SO MANY OF THESE FOR MY HOUSE! Thanks for sharing! More DIY please. :)

tammy -March 24, 2011, 2:16PM

TYSM!! Now I can stop mowing over my light stakes!!

annie -March 24, 2011, 4:18PM

bonnaroo doesn’t like glass– ya think this’d be ok?
If not, plastic jars would work, too, I think

Hailee -March 24, 2011, 5:46PM

What part of the solar lamp do you put in the jar?

Brittany -April 7, 2011, 11:57PM

I love these! I made 2 to try them out.. the solar lights i bought were cheap so one broke already. Off to buy more lights and I will have these all over my apartment! THANKS!

Elizabeth -May 3, 2011, 5:49PM

I made some but kept the glass clear and put fun crystals and geodes inside! They look great grouped together! So fun:)

Kelly -May 11, 2011, 11:55PM

I just found the individual stake lights for $2-$3 at the grocery store in the seasonal section. Thought everyone would like to know they don’t have to order a box of 20 from Home Depot.

Liz -May 20, 2011, 10:33AM

You can also purchase these at your local Home Depot for about $3 each! Awesome idea……..

Laura -May 23, 2011, 3:57AM

Y’know, if you put like a fake branch or flowers or maybe even a ballerina figurine inside the jars, it’ll look even more amazing.

diwhat? -May 26, 2011, 4:51PM

how is this DIY? this is called buying cheap crap and taking it apart.
Oh and if I saw one with a ballerina in it i would laugh until i peed my pants.

dutchster -May 27, 2011, 6:11AM

mine only works for like 30 seconds… it’s really too bad. the idea is pretty awesome though!

kliles -May 30, 2011, 10:25PM

I made some of these today and absolutely love them. What a great idea!!

glassylady -May 31, 2011, 4:48AM

Those stakes look rather cheap modern and dare I say tacky.Your mason jar solars will just fill the bill along my fence rail. I’m planning to add colored glass globs for added weight and color.

Indie Thrifter -June 10, 2011, 1:51AM

Wow! I can’t wait to make one of these! Will definitely beat using the laptop screen for mood lighting :)

Aariia -June 18, 2011, 9:52PM

WOW…this is incredibly easy…i simply loved it..and it has such soft and soothing light….i am surely going to try this very soon..thanks alot for sharing…

spunkypopcorn -July 4, 2011, 5:22PM

I just made some of these today (after buying the supplied months ago) and I’m so excited to put them out on my deck! It’s a great idea for me because we don’t really have any outlets outside near the deck and I didn’t really want to pay to have one put in. Plus, I can move these anywhere I want.

Esse -July 18, 2011, 7:54AM

So Beautiful Light ;)

Anonymous -August 3, 2011, 1:53PM

Great idea and so simple!

Angie S -August 3, 2011, 1:55PM

This looks so easy, and the result is wonderful! I’ll have to make some too, Thanks.

Laurie -August 7, 2011, 4:05AM

I love the idea of these! But I live in Seattle!!! Sad :(
Will try to make them first chance I get though! Just to have one :D

Robin -September 2, 2011, 10:13PM

I am really excited about making some of these- I think I will Mod Podge a pale green tissue paper luna moth to the inside prior to painting the inside- perfect moon jar!

Anonymous -September 14, 2011, 11:07PM

Can you get colored frosts? Just white would be cute with cutouts for a ghost or snowman face.

nic -September 16, 2011, 3:19PM

Pretty. You can really get creative with these! I will be putting them in my butterfly garden. Might even hang a couple from our tree, or porch.

Wendy -October 10, 2011, 9:43PM

Love this! Just made one for my 4 year old son who sleeps with a flashlight (and goes thru a ton of batteries). We did it together and call it our sun jar. We “catch” the sun all day so he can sleep with the sun at night (and as a double bonus, the sun chases all the scaries away). I’m making another for my daughter but putting star sticker inside before I frost, then peeling them off so clear stars will shine in her room at night. BTW, I used a plastic mason jar since I didn’t want them to break and it works perfectly.

kathy lynn -October 12, 2011, 3:27PM

My 800ft driveway is now lite up & the colors make it perfect for Christmas!!!! NO ELECTRIC BILL for christmas lites!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! & the rest of the year for a lighted driveway. Landscaping cheap & BEAUITFUL -October 21, 2011, 3:01PM

Thanks for sharing, this is amazing. I may give it a try! :)

MacKenzie -October 31, 2011, 9:16AM

I bought a can of frosting at Lowes for $4.98
Jar similar to the small IKEA jar at the Dollar Tree $1.00
and I bought the solar light at the Doller Tree too!

Total $6.98 if I just make one

Kali -November 12, 2011, 12:08AM

Such a cute idea! How much did they cost to make? I love these for a nice little summer outdoor party. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous -November 29, 2011, 7:44PM

if you have a mason jar with no clear lid could you cut out the top of the lid to make this work? any help would be much appreciated i love this idea!!!!

Donna Featherston -November 29, 2011, 7:46PM

if you have a mason jar but no clear lid could you maybe cut the top of the lid out?

anonymous -December 22, 2011, 5:23PM

nice!too bad the sun is hiding from us:(ohh well. i’ll wait till next year:(

Amber -December 27, 2011, 5:25PM

I LOVE this! I live in Louisiana and our power goes out almost every time we have a hurricane or tropical storm/depression. These would be GREAT when we don’t have power instead of dangerous candles and battery-eating flashlights!

Donna | The Healthy Eating Site -January 8, 2012, 3:03AM

What a brilliant and simple idea! They look awesome! I love the orange colored one especially. I have some of those jars, I’m definitely going to try this out. They would make great night lights.

I have a lot of solar lamps in the garden. They were here when I moved in and none of them work, but I think it might be because the batteries need to be replaced. Often they are made with cheap rechargeable batteries, which wear out over time. If you replace them with better quality rechargeable batteries they will last longer. So I might try that and replace all these scrappy old plastic lights out in the garden with these beautiful glowing colored jars. Thank you so much for posting instructions for such a wonderful project!

Karen -January 12, 2012, 10:06PM

Would love to make these to leave at cemetery at daughter’s grave site. -February 4, 2012, 9:50AM

just wondering for the different color, can u buy frosting spray in different colors?

joanne -February 28, 2012, 6:50PM

thanks for an amazing idea! They will be so much more versatile than candles which blow out so easily! Thank you for taking the time to post this

sam -March 5, 2012, 5:56AM

can i find solar garden lights in IKEA???

Gina @ Oatsandbeansandbabygrow -March 7, 2012, 8:30AM

I found this on Pinterest a few days ago, thought it was so cool, but something I’d never get around to. Then I ran into a big display of the solar lamps at the Dollar Store yesterday! I only bought one, but I think I’m going to run back and get more to make a few of these!

Alita M -March 16, 2012, 9:02AM

I bet these will last longer because since they are inside of the lid they aren’t out in the elements… rain, snow …… thanks off to wally world I go!

Trina -April 22, 2012, 8:24PM

These are so great! I’ll bet they’d make sweet mood lighting at an early evening outdoor wedding reception. Effortless and you wouldn’t have to worry about the wind blowing out candles or extra extension cords.

Paydon -April 24, 2012, 4:58PM

I saw some solar stakes the last time I was at the Dollar Tree. Not sure if they will work well since they are only a $1. But it’s probably a lot cheaper and worth a shot.

Kailey -May 4, 2012, 12:30PM

To make the bulb a different color you can use stained glass paint. I found some at Michaels for about $2 each and there is an endless amount of colors =) The brand I used was Americana Crystal Gloss Enamels. I also just saw a frosted version of the paint online…wonder if that would work for the glass instead to get a even coat?

lindsey -May 9, 2012, 4:09PM

why wouldn’t you post the solar lamps you actually used? I ordered the sunforce ones on your recommendation for 50$ and they will obviously not work, they are way too big. you suck

Megan -May 11, 2012, 9:39PM

I just made these for my mother for Mother’s Day. Absolutely beautiful!! She loves them!

lindsey -May 25, 2012, 4:01PM

I hope you are joking if not that is so RUDE!!!!

Sandy -May 25, 2012, 4:02PM

This is for Lindsey,I do hope that you are joking if not that is so RUDE!!!!!!

PAT -June 5, 2012, 10:22PM


pat -June 5, 2012, 10:28PM

I’m making this tomorrow, they would be for a survival kit too. I’vegot to find the right jar…thrift store here I come

Candlelight Obsession -June 11, 2012, 11:56AM

WOW! You have our attention!

spjz -June 24, 2012, 6:21PM

The only problem w/ these being used for emergencies or in a survival kit is that they are SOLAR charged and need to be sitting out charging, not packed in a survival kit or sitting in a drawer. I think it is a fun idea that will go as far as someone’s imagination…can’t wait to try it!

de -July 7, 2012, 4:38PM

I just put the top of the solar light on top of a lidless jar with hot glue. It’s in my bathroom window as a a night light.

Sandra McCall -July 25, 2012, 7:30PM

Such a cute idea! Thanks!

Mel -July 27, 2012, 2:04PM

These are totally dreamy! They’d be very cool in different colored jars. Must try this.

Nora -August 22, 2012, 10:05AM

I made one of these last week and it’s amazing!! It’s so pretty to light up in my window at night. The only issue I had was getting the right kind of glue to properly stick the solar light to the top of the jar, any tips on that?

Nora -August 22, 2012, 10:08AM

Also, something that I found helpful was to test the solar lamps in the store before you purchase them. I bought a few at Walmart that didn’t work when I got home.

Sydney -August 25, 2012, 6:49PM

Nora, I find that proxy glue works best for attaching most things to each other, I use it for my mixed media art! You can find it in most art supplies or possibly home improvement stores. It’s easy to use, you just mix the two substances together and add glue to both the jar and the solar part, hold it for a few minutes and you’re good to go! Hope this helps!

LJS -September 24, 2012, 2:28AM

The glue Sydney is referring is called EPOXY, not proxy. It comes in many different types for different jobs. It can also be obtained in a quick-set type, which I would recommend – just beware this does begin to set-up in about 5 minutes. If your don’t get the quick set, you could be holding the parts for several minutes, like 20 or 30 minutes, while the glue sets. It comes either in a dual syringe or in 2 separate bottles. The syringe is the easiest to use, just squeeze out and mix well. If in separate bottles, pour out equal parts of each then mix. READ THE BOX/PACKAGE to be sure you’re getting EPOXY suitable for use on glass if you’re going to use a glass jar.

@Lindsey: It is very possible the lights that Julia used were smaller. Manufacturers do make changes in products. Could also be she used a larger jar than you obtained. She didn’t specify the size jar she used. ‘Course, there’s nothing wrong with using your own mind and creativity to overcome the situation. You could create something with your very own “signature”, after all, that IS what DIY is all about.

@diwhat?: Stop being such a DIYNazi. She took a solar lamp and a jar and made something a little different. That is DIY. You don’t necessarily need to start completely from scratch to call it DIY. Could YOU build something like this completely from scratch?

Leslie Miller -November 12, 2012, 3:15AM

Yes, the home depot box of 4 solar lights $20 spring $9 off- season winter) are indeed cheap and after the first year….. crappy…The sun deteriorates plastic here in the desert in no time, SO bad you can’t change the battery or move them without them cracking apart…I am going to take the tops and make me some of these. They have to be in direct sunlight and the length of time depends on the batteries. I buy mine in bulk on ebay.

A.L. Designs Jewelry -December 14, 2012, 7:08AM

Lovely !! Very pastel color :)

Janice -April 11, 2013, 10:27PM

I bought some solar lights at K Mart for $2.50 that fit perfectly in the top of a Yankee Candle Jar!!

Lucia -June 6, 2013, 8:35PM

I love this idea! I was able to get solar lights at the dollar tree along with mason jars. It’s great because I can just wedge the light into the mason jar ring; I don’t need any adhesive at all! A great looking light for only $2. I have one of the old, blue, mason jars that I’m going to try out as well. Just did it today, can’t wait ’til it’s dark. Thanks for the idea.

Lisa -June 9, 2013, 11:31AM

I can’t believe how rude some of these comments are, what is wrong with you people? No social graces what so ever. Keep your rude comments to yourself please. I have been making many different variations of these lanterns and have had such good luck with all. Some use real candles, some solar lights and some with the little LED votives. Everyone loves them and they are so much fun to make. Everything is trial and error and some if you aren’t as crafty or in the spirit of your rudeness “as smart” as the rest of us. It’s reall a simple craft so if you fail perhaps you should take up coloring books and leave this blogger with this amazing idea she has shared with us alone. I for one want to thank her…love, love, love this!!!!

carmen -September 29, 2013, 2:47PM

I did this only I used tiny blue pearl sand balls in the bottom, added a 3-D butterfly and wrapped a wire around it so it can hang and made a beautiful home made gift for my friend. You can hang it from a branch looks so cool

Rosetta -October 6, 2014, 8:16AM

Your style is unique in comparison to other
people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you
for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just
bookmark this page.

Ryan Webster -October 31, 2014, 12:45AM

Cool! Perfect for our family camping, I should go find something like this before our camp! :) Im so excited. Than you for sharing an article about this adorable solar jar! :)

As thanks I would like to share where my other solar stuff came from, you will see an amazing solar lights at, have fun like I did. :)

tish -December 21, 2014, 10:30PM

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